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Arrow Video FrightFest 2020: Day 4 – Brazilian Jason, Aussie cannibals and a booby-trapped waterpark

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Day 4! After checking out the short film showcases on Thursday, vampires and explosions on Day 2, and troll-offing and ghosts on Day 3 we had reached the penultimate day already.

Like yesterday, there were another eight films to choose from between the Arrow Video Screen and the Horror Channel Screen and to be honest between film’s we had already seen and preferring to watch a movie over a panel our selections came pretty easy. Again, like yesterday, we were ping-ponging back and forth between Arrow and Horror all day to take in Skull: The Mask, Two Heads Creek, Hall and Aquaslash in an Arrow-Horror-Arrow-Horror formation.

Check out all of our FrightFest coverage
And hey, if you like the sound of FrightFest and are just hearing about it now – What up! Pull up a sofa – the kettle just boiled and the movie’s about to start – unlike usual years when it sells out in seconds, tickets and passes are still available here and there are horrid heaps of histrionics inducing hits to check out every single day until the end of play Monday. So go choose some movies and enjoy.

Anyhoo, Hi! I’m Alan and I will be Live for Films’ brave adventurer into the demonic delights of daily death and destruction for the next five days and IF I SURVIVE jumping on here to let you know what sights I witnessed and what I thought. If you want an early sniff or just like your hot takes a little fresher and more instantaneous, I will also be tweeting reactions over on the Live for Films twitter: @Live_for_Films.

 

SKULL: THE MASK

Written and directed by Armando Fonseca and Kapel Furman (Cinelab), Skull: The Mask – or even better Skull: A Máscara de Anhangá – stars first-timer Rurik Jr., Natalia Rodrigues (The Secret Life of Couples), Ricardo Gelli (Uptake Fear) and Wilton Andrade (VIPs).

An archaeological team dig up an Incan mask in the jungle and transport it back to São Paulo where it reanimates when splashed with blood and latches itself onto the face of a burly crime scene cleaner (Rurik Jr.).

It is the mask of a pre-Columbian god – Anhangá, the executioner of Tahawantinsupay – and now he has a form again he sets off on a rampage of bloody carnage through clubs, cemeteries, posh manors and the slums wanting nothing but constant blood sacrifice obtained by chopping people up with a huge machete, putting their insides on their outsides, slicing or peeling off faces and even throttling one poor dude with his own intestines. It’s a total blast and the kind of wanton gruesome ultra-violent carnage you love to see a hulking unkillable slasher inflicting on the populace. 

Trying to halt Anhangá are Beatriz Obdias (Rodrigues), a loose cannon cop with a dark past and Padre Vasco Magno (Gelli) and Manco Ramirez (Andrede) members of an ancient order whose ancestors have fought and stopped Anhangá before and have all their old weapons, sweet fighting moves and a flamethrower.

There’s an almost gonzo feel and metal energy that adds urgency and immediacy, and the casting is spot on leaving you actually caring about the non-killer and non-body count characters who may have screwed up before but are trying to right their wrongs by battling an annoyed blood-lusting demi-god with a penchant for throat slams.

Skull: The Mask or Jason Takes São Paulo is the rad as hell slasher you’ve been waiting for. Full of viscera drenched mayhem and rich Incan magic mythology, directors Fonseca and Furman need to make a sequel or a Friday the 13th movie asap.

 

TWO HEADS CREEK

Keeping up the gore, but adding a sixer of XXXX’s worth of belly laughs was Two Heads Creek, written by and starring Jordan Waller (Darkest Hour) directed by Jesse O’Brien (Arrowhead) and also starring Kathryn Wilder (All is True).

Norman (Waller) and Annabelle (Wilder) are twins that discover their recently deceased mum was not their real mum and that their birth mother lives in Two Heads Creek in Australia. They travel to the titular town to find a strang array of shifty townsfolk who they suspect of offing their other mother and perhaps being up to far worse. Something is afoot in Two Heads Creek

With a Hot Fuzz vibe coming through from the locals, the clever sight gags and the sparkling writing that frequently repeats with new layers later, Two Heads Creek is genuinely funny throughout comedy. That just so happens to be chocka with guts, mincing, knives and cannibals. And a musical number.

Waller and O’Brien are onto something here and hopefully will continue to team up to twat the funny bone of the UK film scene. Waller is a brilliant soppy straight man too, getting plenty of love and laughs but also selflessly teeing up his co-stars time and again too. Kthryn Wilder needs no help on this front though. Her bulldozer posho actress performance is hysterical and adds heaps of charm on top of an already impossible to not like film.

All the locals are great too, with particular mention due to Apple, Helen Dallimore’s karaoke belting, tour guide slash ring leader who steals every moment she’s present with teased to the heavens hair a massive smile and a dark streak a mile wide. Apple has to be one of the best character’s of the festival if we (I’ve decided we are) giving awards out for that.

Feel-good, gross-out and laugh out loud funny with a total rock ‘n’ roll cannibal carnage finale, you’ll spend the entire duration of Two Heads Creek either laughing or wincing and have a smile on your face for the rest of the day.

 

HALL

 

The first full-length feature from director Francesco Giannini, Hall is written by Derrick Adams (Fendrel the Fool) and Adam Kolodny (Neurovenge) and stars Carolina Bartczak (X-Men: Apocalypse), Yumiko Shaku (Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla), Mark Gibson (Hellmouth) and Bailey Thain (Montreal Dead End).

During a killer virus pandemic (yep) four people pitch up to a hotel for the night: pregnant woman on the run from her partner Naomi (Shaku) and husband and wife Val (Bartczak) and Branden (Gibson) and their daughter Kelly (Thain).

Everyone seems to have a secret and Val and Branden’s marriage is dissolving as she learns new and worrying information about her hubby from their Carol-Anne-looking kid. But, when the virus hits the hotel and leaves gross veiny moaning infected crawling the corridors escape and perhaps survival becomes a matter of getting to the end of the hall.

Hall takes its whole runtime to get going, ends just as it’s getting good and saves the most interesting stuff until the post-credits scene. It’s a big narrative misstep that feels like either someone thought the human drama was more interesting than it is or just underestimated audience patience.

Decent child in the basement menaced by her decomposing daddy antics come way too late in the game and interesting elements are either skirted over, not padded out like everything else, or relegated to being shown post-credits. Yumiko Shaku is very good and can literally act better with her feet than a lot of actors can with their entire bodies and the final four or five minutes are what we were waiting for, but it’s a case of too little too late.

 

AQUASLASH

Speaking of high concept films that take a long time to get going and only deliver for a few minutes at the end, Aquaslash was on next, written and directed by Renaud Gauthier (Discopath).

A booby-trapped waterpark movie sounds fantastic and is what we came to ride, but Aquaslash feels like Gauthier had that idea and instead of expanding on it, padded out the preceding hour and fifteen minutes with a sub-Porky’s snooze full of unlikeable characters being unlikeable to each other, two tiny slasher POV scenes that only serve to get your hopes up that something is going to happen, and a possibly illegal screeching cover of Corey Hart’s ‘Sunglasses at Night’.

Once the body parts start shooting down the flume things obviously pick up but when you realise how long you waited for that one sequence your heart plummets faster than a kid on a water slide.


Monday is the bleeding end of FrightFest 2020 already! But the online festival takes its bow with three last films, Blinders, Enhanced and Dark Stories, all of which we’re excited to see. With my current favourites (in no order, yet) being: The Columnist, Dark Place, Skull: The Mask and Two Heads Creek, there’s still a spot open in my Top Five…

Not long left now, but Arrow Video FrightFest: Digital Edition runs until Monday and tickets are still available here.

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